Building Connections – a Guide to Networking

“Networking”. It is a word which fills some with dread, makes others yawn with boredom while others perk up on hearing it. Networking, love it or hate it, has become a buzz word in recent years for summing up a key practice in developing new business, that of meeting people and building new commercial relationships.

Whether you are a student preparing to graduate, a newly qualified professional or business owner you need clients, customers and colleagues prepared to give you work. People do business with people and getting out in to the world to meet new connections is an excellent way to develop new and better understanding of industry as well as generate new potential leads.

Making new connections does not have to be the painfully uncomfortable experience some make it out to be. Here are a few tips for making it all a little easier:

  • Stop thinking of networking as work. Just relax and enjoy talking to people. Avoiding work-related subjects is often the easiest way to build a rapport with someone. After all, it’s all about having a good conversation.  Ask people open questions and find out what they are passionate about.
  • If you want to connect with someone in particular then do some background reading on their industry or sector but don’t jump to display all of your recent reading too quickly. Engage and drop a few key pieces of knowledge in to the conversation here or there to show you have awareness of the sector.
  • Know your “elevator-pitch”. This should be a 30 second synopsis of who you are, what you do and which business you are from. Identify yourself and something that interests you or say something interesting about what you do. This will help you stand out and make you more memorable.

The key is to any successful networking event is making the person you are talking to feel at ease, interested and inclined to meet you again for a follow up conversation.

Why not get out and practice? Connections events are a great place to meet people from different sectors and stages in their careers. Visit the Connections website at www.connectionsnetworkinggroup.com to find out more.

                                    Alexander Lamley

CEO, Connections

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